Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Students’ use of extra-curricular activities for positional advantage in competitive job markets

an article by Nicolas Roulin and Adrian Bangerter (Institute of Work and Organizational Psychology, University of Neuchatel, Switzerland) published in Journal of Education and Work Volume 26 Issue 1 (2013)


With the rise of mass higher education, competition between graduates in the labour market is increasing.

Students are aware that their degree will not guarantee them a job and realise they should add value and distinction to their credentials to achieve a positional advantage. Participation in extra-curricular activities (ECAs) is one such strategy, as it allows students to demonstrate competencies not otherwise visible in their résumés due to limited job experience.

This article presents data from interviews with 66 students about their use of ECAs in relation to the labour market. It describes the reasons students got involved in ECAs, how they integrate them in their résumés, their perceptions of their peers’ behaviour and their beliefs about how employers will interpret their activities.

Our data show that especially students involved in associations use ECAs to distinguish themselves from competition. Implications for employers, students and further research are discussed.

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